Gorgeously simple and warm, ‘My Rock And Roll Heart’, the debut solo EP of Derek Sanders, graces a humbly expectant audience. Nothing about this release is flamboyant or frilled, rather authentic and glossed with the realism of the Mayday Parade vocalist.
‘But Lauren’ rings true first, straight to the point in its lyricism and smouldering in its delivery. The chorus crackles atop the fire that buckles in the hearth, reclining in the calmness of this track’s beauty. Originally written by a hometown band adored by Sanders and his wife alike, ‘But Lauren’ encompasses an unfiltered love that leaves the track feeling gentle. The cover was initially meant for his wife only, before snowballing into a fully-fledged release that we are now encouraged to clutch tenderly.
Swelling warmth is carried graciously into ‘Rocks Tonic Juice Magic’ as Sanders introduces an entirely smooth rendition of the Saves The Day anthem. The layers of the song’s narrative are stripped back, and the skin is laid bare, natural, and exposed. It’s clear that the wavers in Sanders‘ voice are purely passionate, with nothing but infatuation bobbing around in his brain for his love and craft alike.
Plaiting the only feature into the middle of the release in the form of ‘A Praise Chorus’, Sanders stirs energy into a pot of once dampening substance, revitalising the somewhat melancholy tone of the effort that was established beforehand. While the lyrical content is that of honeyed adoration, the actual presentation of these covers doesn’t really pose much of an improvement to the originals.
‘August In Bethany’ hangs marshmallows over the now sleepy fire and allows them to billow to blackened bulbs, unbothered by the taste and entirely preoccupied with the intricacies and context of the music. From the perspective of a listener, it can be maintained that ‘My Rock And Roll Heart’ would’ve been better appreciated by his wife alone, as originally intended.
While it holds tremendous sentimental value on a personal level, this EP fails to present much mind-boggling content in terms of Sanders‘ career or musical ability. It’s sweet, though.